The story begins with the death of Ashley Cordova, a 24 year old, daughter of a legendary horror-cult film director, Stanislas Cordova. He lives in a spooky big estate called The Peak – a 300-acre estate located in upstate New York in the remote wilderness of Lows Lake, which has also been home to Cordova’s film studio. There are lot of controversies surrounding his films. It is also believed that one of his films has inspired a man to become a murderer. So, all his films are banned, but they are still screened underground, some dark place, for all Cordovites. Cordova hasn’t been seen in public since 1977. There is a lot of mystery surrounding him and some even call him a ‘myth’.
So when Scott McGrath, the protogonist, a fallen investigative journalist, reads about Ashley’s death, he believes Stanislas has something to do with it. Few years back, he tried to stop Cordova after he received a call from a John saying: “There’s something he(Cordova) does to the children.” Cordova sued Scott for defamation. Scott was not able to provide substantial evidence to support his claim and lost, and thus his first encounter with Stanislas had ruined his career.
Scott receives a message from his old attorney, Stu Laughton, who informs him of Ashley’s passing. He thinks of it as one last chance to bring down Cordova and starts digging into Ashley’s life. Detective Sharon Falcone, a member of the Manhattan Police Department, helps Scott by giving him few documents like Ashley’s medical report, death report and missing person’s report. Scott visits an old acquaintance- Wolfgang Beckman: “film scholar, professor, rabid Cordovite and author of six books on cinema”. He gives Scott in-depth information about Cordova and his films. Using all these he tries to trace back Ashley’s life.
In this journey Scott bumps into two people, a young guy called Hopper; the other a 19-year-old woman called Nora. Nora and Hopper become his sidekicks. They are interested in solving Ashley’s murder mystery for some reason, and together they try to piece all the information they have, and track down all the people Ashley encountered from the time she went missing and was found dead. There is definitely some mention about black magic and cult practices in this book, but not so much that it will creep you out.
So, last time when Scott got involved with Cordova, he lost his life and career. This time he could lose his mind. If you are in a mood for some serious investigation, eerie scenes, then Night Film is definitely a good choice.
Marisha Pessl has put a lot of effort to make the reading experience a pleasure and that has worked beautifully. This book has a lot of mixed-media(Google search results, websites, evidence details, etc). Even though the book is around 600 pages, the mixed-media elements, the mysterious and dreadful events that make you gasp in horror , and the beautiful writing, make the readers flip through the pages so quickly. This book is definitely creepy and messes with your mind, but at the same time it is one of the best murder-mystery thriller books I have read in a really long time. Perfect read for a rainy day.
My Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: Random House (1 February 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099559242
- ISBN-13: 978-0099559245